Archive for the ‘The Book’ Category

PZ Meyers PZ Meyer PZ Meier PZ Myers, posted about the motion presented by on october 2006.It may be more interesting to visit the Report of the Committee on Culture, Science and Education (Rapporteur ).

Et en français, cadeau de Pangolina. Merci m’dame.

About France, where I hang, there are two entries :

57. The Harun Yahya offensive: In early 2007, the Turkish creationist Harun Yahya sent his work entitled “The Atlas of Creation” to a very large number of French schools and resource centres. In response, the Minister of Education, Gilles de Robien, called on chief education officers to ensure that this book « which does not correspond to the content of the curricula drawn up by the Ministry, is not available at school resource centres”. Hervé LeGuyader, Professor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Paris VI, was tasked by the General National Education Inspectorate with producing a detailed analysis of this atlas. He considers the book to be “Much more dangerous than the previous creationist initiatives, which were often of Anglo-Saxon origin”. He believes that the lavishness of the work and the method employed by the author could “prove highly effective in the case of an uninformed public. He also finds that the scientific content of this book is “pathetically inadequate”. “The Atlas of Creation” has also been sent to many journalists.58. The (): The UIP, an association set up under the Law of 1901, was established in 1995 to replace the , which was founded in 1989 to succeed the . Supported at the beginning by a number of prestigious companies, it has gradually been abandoned by its sponsors owing to the suspicions of raised against it. It is actively working on the introduction of spirituality into the sciences and society and is also said to be very closely allied to the American intelligent design movement. The transmission on ARTE in October 2005 of the Thomas Johnson documentary Homo sapiens, a new history of Man was, incidentally, very controversial in France. It seems to have been very largely inspired by the work of , who is responsible for research at the National Scientific Research Centre CNRS, is attached to the Paris Natural History Museum and was at that time a member of the UIP’s scientific council. The documentary was accused of conveying a neocreationist message and helping the UIP’s cause.

Now, if you go thought the document and you aren’t crying with the pitiful situation of Europe maybe you come from outer space. Or USA, almost the same ;-)Organizations such as the European University of Paris (largely financed by the ) should trigger much more reactions by the academia IMHO. , founder and general secretary of the UIP, recently published a fabulous book (in a few month available in the USA, probably via the JTF editions) a collection of « everything you should not teach in a biology classroom » (there is more then biology, but I’ll keep commenting just this part). Local reactions = zero.I don’t think the book is a best seller, but I suppose that at least a dozen of academics should have blog about it demonstrating the errors on which Staune builds it’s logical illusions to claim that science made more probable the existence of gods. I suppose the immune system of rationalists in Europe is dormant. And hope that it will be boosted after the voting of the resolution.I would like to thank those who participated in the redaction of the text, and let’s spread their names :

Members of the Committee: Mr Jacques (Chairman), Baroness Hooper, Mr Wolfgang Wodarg, Mrs Anne , (Vice-Chairpersons), Mr Hans Ager, Mr Toomas Alatalu, Mr. Kornél , Mr Lars Barfoed, Mr Rony Bargetze, Mr Lars , Mrs Marie-Louise Bemelmans-Videc (Alternate: Mr ), Mr Radu Mircea Berceanu, Mr Levan Berdzenishvili, Mrs Oksana Bilozir, Mrs Maria Luisia Boccia (Alternate: Mr Stefano ), Mrs Margherita Boniver, Mr Ioannis Bougas, Mr Osman Coşkunoğlu, Mr Vlad Cubreacov, Mr Ivica Dačić, Mrs Maria , Mr Joseph Debono Grech, Mr Stepan Demirchyan, Mr Ferdinand Devinski, Mrs Åse Gunhild Woie , Mr Detlef Dzembritzki, Mrs Anke Eymer, Mr Relu Fenechiu, Mrs Blanca Fernández-Capel, Mrs Maria Emelina , Mr Axel , Mr José , Mr Eamon Gilmore, Mr Stefan Glǎvan, Mr Luc Goutry, Mr Vladimir Grachev, Mr Andreas Gross, Mr Jean-Pol Henry, Mr Rafael , Mr Fazail Ibrahimli, Mrs Halide İncekara, Mrs Evguenia Jivkova, Mr Morgan Johansson, Mrs Dagny Jónsdóttir, Mr Ali Rashid Khalil, Mr József , Mr Jean-Pierre , Mr Markku , Mr Guy , Mrs Jagoda Majska-Martinčević, Mr Tomasz , Mr Andrew McIntosh, Mr Ivan Melnikov (Alternate; Mr Alexander ), Mrs Maria Manuela , Mrs Assunta Meloni, Mr Paskal Milo, Mrs Christine , Mrs Miroslava , Mr Edward O’Hara (Alternate: Mr Robert ), Mr Kent , Mr Andrey Pantev, Mrs Antigoni Pericleous Papadopoulos, Mr Azis , Mrs Majda Potrata, Mr Dušan Proroković, Mr Lluis Maria de Puig (Alternate: Mrs María Josefa ), Mr Zbigniew Rau (Alternate: Mr Zbigniew ), Mrs Anta Rugāte, Mr André Schneider, Mr Urs Schweitzer, Mr Vitaliy Shybko, Mrs Geraldine Smith, Mrs Albertina Soliani, Mr Yury Solonin, Mr Christophe Spiliotis-Saquet (Alternate: Mr Bernard ), Mr Valeriy , Mr Petro Symonenko, Mr Mehmet Tekelioğlu, Mr Ed van Thijn, Mr Piotr Wach, Mr Emanuelis

Tagged, those who took part in the meeting.

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De telle sorte, mon cher Jean, qu’au siècle prochain, votre livre sera parfaitement dépassé, alors que le mien restera d’une actualité pérenne…

C’est sur ces paroles d’ que se termine le débat publié à la page débat du Figaro 2/06/07, débat avec Jean Staune.

Désolé de devoir corriger Comte-Sponville. Au moins en ce qui concerne la partie « biologie » de The Book, parce qu’il est question de The Book. The Book était dépassé avant d’être publié. Pas la peine d’attendre un siècle pour se rendre compte des inanités que Jean a collectionné. Je me demande même si ça ne fait pas déjà un siècle qu’il est dépassé; va falloir vérifier.

, , , ,

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Je pensais faire une courte note au sujet du billet que Marc Chu-Carroll publie en guise de revue du bouquin de Michael Behe attendu aux rayons des librairies. Mon intérêt premier au sujet de ce billet est qu’il torche un certain nombre de bullshit que l’on retrouve dans le bouquin de Jean Staune (quand je dis que la démarche scientifique de Jean a des points communs avec celle des ténors du ID…). En fait je vais demander à Chu-Carroll l’autorisation de traduire son billet, ce qui va me faire faire d’une pierre deux coups, « The Book » et « The Edge of Evolution ».

Mais la réaction de Bill Dembski est fantastique ! Dembski est mathématicien et on s’attendrait à ce qu’il réagisse en critiquant l’analyse de Marc. (suite…)

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Sur megamachine, un post intitulé « Jean Staune, ou les habits neufs du dessein intelligent ? » a attiré mon attention. Grâce aux trackbacks 🙂

Aussitôt, ce livre a suscité des réactions d’une extrême violence dans certains blogs et forums, qui dénoncent principalement son traitement de la théorie de l’évolution.

Je ne pensais pas que ma réaction pourrait être qualifiée de violente, je me suis modéré autant que possible, en public. Je regrette que l’auteur de Mégamachine n’a pas trouvé aussi ce fil de discussion ou les non-sens du chapitre XI du livre de Staune ont commencé à être discutés, ou le dernier fil en date où je continuerai le travail, qui sera in fine assemblé sur Néo-Créationiste.


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Hello Vasily,

I grow up under a military junta (1967-74, Greece) and I do understand the need for democratic speech.

But my question was about alternatives to a scientific theory, not about freedom of ideas. I hope you don’t consider them at the same level. Interpreting natural phenomena is not about opinions.

The Ryan/Cairn story is a quite interesting one. Neither fully explored the problem reported. Nor the problem was fully studied yet. I think it’s more valuable to spend time for full exploration of the events driving to the observed results rather then spending time to build alternatives.
What would be the specific point(s) where these results contradict ‘darwinism’ and make it necessary to build an alternative?

It’s quite easy to build hypothesis, say the they could explain things and that it would be interesting to test them, and conclude that it will be quite difficult to build tests that would be able to in/validate them.

I will follow you on the consideration that the way science is financed today leads to a lot of nonsense and that the degree of specialization tends to limit the way research is performed.
‘Questioning expert’s « points of view »‘ is my middle name, including those of McFadden (an easy example for me to showcase) and the absence of such a critical approach from Jean is the very first thing I « charge » him.
You said that you didn’t explored the matter further than the « expert’s opinion » concerning this particular point.
Please, consider this particular case as an illustration that I really do not easily accept ‘ex cathedra’ assertions if they aren’t thoroughly counter-expertised. And that I’m against any kind of servility toward « experts ». I understand that they may be mistaken even in there field of expertise and his is understandable. Mistakes happen.

But on the other hand, lousy interpretations of science as the ones Jean makes in his book are much more toxic. He present himself as a non specialist based on what specialist said (including opinions presented as facts, of assertions that are manifestly false) and tries to support an ideology. That’s the worst behavior to be expected from one stating that he done a « scientific enquiry » during a period of 20 years and presents the state of the art and conclusions.

I understand that you already read the chapter XI (as Jean says that you didn’t had anything to object to the content). If you have time to spend over this, give it a second read, being critical and not relying on « experts opinions », neither at Jean’s « scientific enquiry » results. I’m curious to know which of the criticisms against « darwinism » you would support.

Concerning your essay I have a single observation. You are talking about « stability », biological stability. I never encountered such a thing. I rather spended a lot of time and efforts fighting biological instability and variation.
You could improve the quality of your text by explicitly defining what you mean by stability and what the limits of your definition are.

Bests regards,


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Hello Vasily,

I wouldn’t say that I’m discussing with Jean or that I’m getting ‘more’ technical. I just point to the insufficiencies of his approach which I consider dishonest. His claims of a scientific enquiry (subtitle of his book) is an usurpation of the term « scientific », at least about matters connected with biology.

Concerning multi-resistant bacteria his report is incomplete. Certainly McFadden could be considered as an expert, but his approach doesn’t stand in front of a few minutes datamining from what Jean likes to call a Modest Biologist [that’s me :-)]

I can easily understand your point of view, relying on McFadden’s opinion while reading the manuscript of Jean, not Jean’s naiveté.

On the other hand, Jean present you as an authority validating his point of view. Not the best reference for you.

By personal experience, a lot of molecularists consider Darwinism quite critically and explain their observations with(in) it; this doesn’t mean that they spend their time trying to challenge it, but rather that they build working hypothesis which keep it under constant testing conditions. As far as I know it stands.

Jean’s examples are (all of them, chapter XI) out of focus and incomplete, presented in a schema (intentionally ?) creating a logical illusion. It may be great fun for biologists but dangerous for general public.

The main point of Jean have nothing to do, I understand, with darwinism, biology or science in general, but rather with spirituality and ‘means to make it more credible (without proving it)’. Undirected evolution is his nightmare and he would ‘take’ anything that may give the slightest hint (however false it could be) that evolution is directed by some god.

Are there scientific alternatives to darwinism? Why there should be alternatives? One have to have in hand something unexplainable, not just unexplained, by a model to seek for a new one.

I have a long train trip later in the day, I’ll read « Erwin Schroedinger, Francis Crick and epigenetic stability » and if I find it inspiring I’ll come back to you with questions and/or comments.

Best regards,


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Dr Ogryzko,

I hope that my message isn’t to be considered as an unsolicited nuisance (aka spam). I would like to answer to the message you addressed to Jean Staune, which appeared as an attachment to his post on Sur-la Toile.

In fact, despite that plasmids are well known for mycobacteria, I don’t think they can explain the multi-resistant strains recently emerging. You are right at that point. I was referring essentially at transduction by mycobacteriophages, for the part HGT, and response to antibiotics-induced stress as a mechanism generating diversity.

« The first point that might be useful to emphasize arguing with Vekris is that he is most likely referring to the known phenomenon of existance of plasmids (extrachromosomal elements, relatively small pieces of DNA that can replicate independently inside the cells) that contain many different genes of resistance to different antibiotics, and other drugs, like heavy metals (Mercury, in particular). These plasmids have been shown to jump between different species of bacteria via the horizontal transfer, that he is talking about. This would instantly make bacteria resistant to several different drugs at once.
Indeed, if this was the case with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, we would have nothing to talk about, as Darwinism is still be easily compatible with this phenomenon.

However, it appears that most of the drug resistant cases in Mycobacterium Tuberculosis are not like this – they do appear as mutations in previously existing chromosomal genes. Here is just one refernece of many papers on this subject, with an abstract (I am not sure that is the most autoritative group, and if necessary something better can be pulled from Medline) »

Now, recombination between plasmids and chromosomal elements is a common phenomenon, so even if primary mutations are on chromosomal genes they may be carried by plasmids afterwards. And this is the same with any genetic element known to recombine with chromosomal DNA and spreading across individuals of the same or different species. And plasmids aren’t always small pieces, mycobacterial ones make it to up to 320 kb, that’s around 7% of the tuberculosis chromosome.

HGT is know to occur naturally in mycobacteria (also). I don’t understand why you consider pointing to the HGT database as irrelevant. It’s an evidence that such transfers occurs.

The most pertinent part of your comment is the last paragraph.

« Or would not it? As far as I understand (but it should be checked) – the multidrug therapy is based on parallel treatment of the patient with all four (or seven?) drugs altogether. Thus, it would not be of any advantage for a bacterial to have only one mutation – it will die anyway, because the three other drugs will be enough to kill it. Thus, the hypothetical intermediates in this scheme (independent mutations in different genes conferring mutations to different drugs) would not exist. I repeat, this depends on how strictly the therapeutic protocols are actually followed in the hospitals. It is hard to know, and it is kind of ironic that the fate of Darwinism is depending on how honest the doctros are:-) However, as McFadden notices, we should also expect that these intermediates would be isolated from patients, and they were not. »

First, the last point: there are plenty of intermediaries known between sensible M. tuberculosis and the multi-resistant XDR-TB causing ones. Simple, double, triple, quadruple etc. resistant strains.

WHO defines XDR-TB strains as MDR-TB with additional resistance (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/notes/2006/np23/en/index.html« MDR-TB (Multidrug Resistant TB) describes strains of tuberculosis that are resistant to at least the two main first-line TB drugs – isoniazid and rifampicin. XDR-TB, or Extensive Drug Resistant TB (also referred to as Extreme Drug Resistance) is MDR-TB that is also resistant to three or more of the six classes of second-line drugs. »)

Why McFadden don’t mention them? Great question. Why McFadden don’t consider plasmids and mycobacteriophages causing HGT once chromosomal mutations occurred? I don’t have any answers that wouldn’t be insulting for Dr McFadden, do you?

Now, the first part: is it possible for a non-ressistant strain to develop multi-resistance if treated simultaneously with several antibiotics? Or, rephrased, do we know how this would be possible?

An hyper-mutator, able to overcome deleterious mutations, presenting the possibility for intensive recombination between several genomes would be ‘one’ of the solutions, isn’t it? Without the ‘immediate need’ for horizontal gene transfer.

There is a mechanism increasing the rate of mutations of mycobacteria under stress, including drug induced stress : DnaE2 Polymerase Contributes to In Vivo Survival and the Emergence of Drug Resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Helena I.M. Boshoff, Michael B. Reed, Clifton E. Barry III and Valerie Mizrahi, Cell, Vol. 113, 183–193, April 18, 2003

What about escaping deleterious mutations and increased recombination levels?

The ‘best’ would be to have several genomes in the same ‘cell’, a syncytium, result of inhibited septation.

Such an inhibition is known by beta-lactam antibiotics (Morphological changes induced by beta-lactam antibiotics in Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare complex, Y Mizuguchi, M Ogawa, and T Udou, Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1985 April; 27(4): 541–547). But it make ‘necessary’ the presence of additional elements (common in patients with multiple infections such as those observed in AIDS).

It is more convenient to consider that, at least, M. tuberculosis present such a state naturally, when infecting macrophages: Mycobacterium tuberculosis Cells Growing in Macrophages Are Filamentous and Deficient in FtsZ Rings, Ashwini Chauhan, Murty V. V. S. Madiraju, Marek Fol, Hava Lofton, Erin Maloney, Robert Reynolds, and Malini Rajagopalan, J Bacteriol. 2006 March; 188(5): 1856–1865.

So, the ‘ingredients’ are all in place, without the ‘necessity’ to consider poorly managed TB care. In fact, such low quality health care is observed, not as a consequence of « how honest the doctors » are, but rather « incorrect drug prescribing practices by providers, poor quality drugs or erratic supply of drugs, and also patient non-adherence » (same WHO reference as above).

I would like to add that there is nothing « darwinian » or not about that. It is rather a question of trying to explain the mechanisms that lead to observed results without supporting one or another ideology.

My main point criticizing Jean Staune’s book was to demonstrate that the field wasn’t completely covered, as he claims, and that a lot of knowledge was simply left aside, probably because it doesn’t fit with his ideology.

I think that the fact that he ignored or eluded (directly or based on McFadden’s assertions) HGT and known hypermutating states of mycobacteria makes the point.

Jean Staune thinks that such matters are « debatable ». I consider that as far as the lab work to explain observations isn’t finished, it is an error publishing partial observations, especially in general public books, trying to legitimate opinions/ideology on the basis of poor analysis; if any.

Staune said on Sur-la-Toile that you read his book and found nothing to object about the multi-resistance of Mt.

« http://www.sur-la-toile.com/viewTopicNum_47665_3_280_L%27evolution-%2C-l%27embryogenese%2C-aspec.html
Grâce à Vasily Ogryzko généticien de classe internationale et directeur de recherches à l’INSERM j’ai pu avoir accès à l’avis de généticiens de très haut niveau qui confirment que les mutations adaptatives restent en partie un mystère pour le darwinisme (en passant Vasily n’a rien trouvé à redire au passage sur la multirésistance , j’en conclu que l’argument est solide) »

Is it true?

Best regards,
A. Vekris (aka OldCola)

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